Eden and After (About 1965 -1966)
About this artwork
This hypnotic work is derived from ‘The Seventh Day of Creation - Eden and After’, a mural Gray painted in Greenhead Church in Glasgow, completed in 1963. Both mural and painting contain similar details, such as the black-cloaked figure of God, the reflective pool and the serpent with legs – creatures copied, as Gray stated, “from ‘The Miracle of Life’ and cigarette cards Dad gave me”. Yet this painting is unique in positioning the embracing Adam and Eve figures at such a captivating focal point. Their reflection adds a harmonious moment of tranquillity to the otherwise complex scene. Filled with fantastical creatures, raging fire, the tower of Babel and crucifixes on the distant hilltop, Gray’s composition follows, as he said, “the journey from the happy garden to the triumph of death.”
The visual arts have always been central to Alasdair Gray’s life, but he achieved recognition first and foremost as a writer. He originally studied at Glasgow School of Art (GSA), from 1952-7, and it was whilst there he began to write sections of what would later become his most critically acclaimed novel, ‘Lanark’, published in 1981. However, visual art was his first love and it is often inseparable from his written work as shown by number of drawings and covers he has done for his publications. Following his time at GSA, Gray worked as a scene painter and produced several murals around Glasgow. He has continued to work as both an artist and a writer, producing large bodies of work in both. In 2001, Gray became joint Professor of Creative Writing at Glasgow University.